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Dreadstar December — Dreadstar #27

“At last… the traitor revealed!”

Dreadstar #27 (“Answers!”) by Jim Starlin is the comic’s first issue for, er, First Comics. If you’ll recall from yesterday’s post, the previous issue, the last one with Epic Comics, ended with the revelation that Mezlo was, in fact, Oedi, explaining why he suddenly was concerned with rescuing Dreadstar and Company. But, how is Oedi Mezlo when we last saw them both plunge into an ocean and Mezlo be the only one to escape? Well, that and the recap of past events pretty much take up the entire issue. This is basically a ‘catch any new readers up to speed’ issue and suffers a little as a result.

Oedi is Mezlo, because, after plunging into the water, Oedi put on the changeling suit that he took from the would-be-assassin of the Monarchy King back in issue four and took the dead Mezlo’s place. From there, he worked to put things where they are. Now, they have the experimental Omega Vessel and are ready to attack Altarax, the Instrumentality capital world. Beyond that, there isn’t much else in this issue besides a full recap of the events since Oedi’s ‘death.’ Oh, and there is the revelation of the traitor: it was Syzygy’s cybernetic ear, set with a beacon so the Instrumentality could track them.

So, in one issue, Starlin explains away two mysteries: why Mezlo had been attacking strange and who the traitor was. Neither answer is necessarily a great one. Oedi back from the dead is nice, but it’s also a cheat. The traitor not actually being a traitor is even more of one. I can understand not wanting to make any of the heroes into bad guys, but Syzygy’s ear? His ear? It does play off something in a previous issue where the Instrumentality had footage of Delphi’s death — which only Syzygy witnessed. It’s either this explains that away or it was bad storytelling.

With the move to First comes a change in colouring that’s somewhat akin to the two issues in the first year that had different, darker, and more layered colouring. The new colouring isn’t as full-blown as the colouring in those issues, but it is more textured and dark than the regular Epic colouring.

A somewhat disappointing begin to the book’s run with First Comcis, but an understandable one. Tomorrow: the attack begins.

10 Comments

I agree with you about the traitor turning out to be just a cybernetic ear that Oedi shot off, kind of being a cheat. It might have been a bit more plausible if it was actually a member of the team. It would have also been a bit more interesting to see what happens if that was actually the case.

I’m not too sold on the fact that Oedi coming back from the dead and pretending he was Mezlo was also a cheat, but Starlin’s well known for long-term plotting and using characters a chess pieces on a gameboard.

I’m not sure why, but I could have sworn that I remembered (from reading it back when it was originally published) that the traitor was Rainbow, Willow’s monkey-like pet . I’m rereading it along with “Dreadstar December,” one issue per day, probably rereading the issues for the first time since the 80s, and I was surpriseded at the reveal.

i remember how thought the traitor being nothing but Syzygy’s ear being a little creepy but a let down. that plus the art for the run at first really does not do starlins genius justice.

The ear thing was a letdown. OTOH, it did give us one nice panel (Oedi shooting Syzygy in the head). And Oedi using the suit from 20 issues ago? That was pretty keen.

First Comics had a brief but brilliant run, from around 1984 until their sudden collapse c. 1990. IMS it was a combination of personalities, a lawsuit, and bad business decisions. A shame, because they published some great stuff.

Doug M.

The recap works better, if you had missed a bunch of issues, as I had at the time. And I love the reveal, especially for Skeevo’s line to Syzygy. (“I want you to know…”)

googum, I don’t fault Starlin for the recaps… it just doesn’t make for an exciting issue besides “Oedi is alive, Syzygy’s ear betrayed them, ATTACK!”

The ear definitely WAS NOT a cheat. Starlin had Cardinal Spyder’s people do it way back when Syzygy was briefly captured.

I think a lot of people were speculating in the letters pages that the traitor was Rainbow. This was a clever little thing that Starlin did: he had several panels showing Rainbow staring intently at Vanth, with the implication that he was the spy. In fact it turned out this was because Willow was infatuated with Dreadstar and SHE was staring at him through Rainbow’s eyes. I love Starlin.

Starlin retroactively had Spyder’s people do it.

I actually cheered at the panel where Oedi shoots Syz! Then being bummed when I turned the page and found out he had only shot his ear off :-(

Anyone know why Dreadstar moved from Epic to First to begin with? I have no idea and I’ve been wondering for years.

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